In his first-ever round in a major, former Georgia Tech golfer Ollie Schniederjans showed his readiness for professional golf, finishing the first round at the U.S. Open with a 1-under 69 at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.
With players still on the course when he birdied the par-5 18th, his score was good for a tie for 14th at the time he finished his round, ahead of tour stars such as Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter.
Schniederjans earned a spot in the field by finishing last summer as the world’s top-ranked amateur, giving him exemptions into the U.S. and British opens. Schniederjans birdied six holes, bogeyed three and doubled one. He returned under par with the birdie on 18 after consecutive bogeys at 16 and 17.
He was five strokes back of co-leaders Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson. It was a memorable start for Schniederjans, paired with past major champions Lee Janzen and Darren Clarke, and no small achievement to stand toe to toe with the game’s greatest players in a pressure-filled setting.
“It’s just big. Everything just feels big,” Schniederjans told the Associated Press. “The whole setting, it’s just a grand event. It feels like a big event.”
Tech great Matt Kuchar finished his round at 3-under, good for a tie for fourth as of 10:30 p.m. Tech alumni Roberto Castro and Cameron Tringale were at 4-over and 5-over, respectively.
Castro will tee off Friday at 10 a.m. EDT, Schniederjans at 10:55 a.m. and Kuchar and Tringale at 5:06 p.m. EDT (Kuchar on the 1st hole and Tringale on the 10th). Television coverage will be provided Friday by Fox Sports 1 from noon to 8 p.m. and Fox 8-11 p.m.